Beleaguered St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner suddenly and immediately resigned Tuesday, a little over two weeks before her previously announced June 1 departure date.
Gardner has been hounded by repeated failures to prosecute serious crimes. But a public firestorm erupted in February after a 2020 robbery suspect she’d yet to take to trial drove a car into a 17-year-old volleyball player, tragically causing her to lose her legs.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey later filed a petition asking a judge to oust her. A hearing in the case even took place Tuesday not long after her abrupt resignation. Reports indicate the case has been put on hold for a week while its necessity is explored. KSDK, quoting an attorney in Bailey’s office, reported that if Gardner’s replacement is appointed quickly it’s “highly likely” the attorney general would not oppose dismissing the ouster case.
Gardner also was facing several cases of criminal contempt after her office failed to even show up for trial in violent cases. It’s unclear what may happen in those cases.
Gardner had initially announced her resignation back on May 4, effective June 1, after a judge earlier that week had ruled she would stand trial Sept. 25 on seven of 10 counts in Bailey’s ouster petition. Despite that, Bailey promised to continue seeking her removal from office until she actually left.
Gov. Mike Parson is expected to appoint Gardner’s replacement by Friday. In the interim, Bailey is sending in a team to get the office back on track.
“The Circuit Attorney has finally heeded my call to resign after undermining the rule of law for years,” Bailey said in a statement. “Today, we begin the process of restoring public safety to the City of St. Louis. Upon the Governor’s authority to appoint the Attorney General’s Office to assist, I am sending Deputy Attorney General, Judge Bill Corrigan, and his team today to immediately receive referrals from police and start the process of clearing the backlog of cases until the Governor appoints the newest Circuit Attorney.”